NOT CURRENT YEAR
To our knowledge, Mitsui Chemicals produces one highly hazardous substances. However, there is no available data for the 82 percent of the company’s production that takes place outside of the EU and US, leaving the company with just three points in the Product Portfolio category. This low transparency is a big issue for investors, as it makes it hard to do a proper evaluation of the risks connected to the product portfolio. On a positive note, Mitsui Chemical is awarded a relatively high score – nine out of twelve – in the Development of Safer Chemicals category, for enabling circularity and actively marketing safer alternatives. However, a really poor area for Mitsui Chemicals is the Lack of Controversies category, where the Japanese company scores zero points due to several serious accidents, including one fatal.
Opportunities for improvement
- We can only rank 18 percent of Mitsui Chemicals’ overall production, since the rest takes place outside the EU and US, where there are no reliable and publicly available sources for identifying producers of hazardous chemicals. Informing ChemSec about hazardous chemical production outside the EU and US could raise the company’s score considerably.
- Mitsui Chemicals’ Admer™ Adhesive Resin gets rewarded for enabling circularity. We also approve of the industry collaboration on the topic of circularity, and Mitsui Chemicals’ efforts to develop a traceability system for plastic materials. However, we recommend the company to use more recycled feedstock.
- The company’s circular strategy is focused on solving climate change and plastic pollution issues, and has developed a dedicated department for this. Still, we would like to see a broader approach and a circular strategy with clear KPIs and SMART targets.
Mitsui produces/uses 1 highly hazardous substance – 1 SIN List chemical (no PICs, and no HHPs) – which is not included on the EU’s REACH Candidate List, meaning it is neither banned nor restricted to use. The company produces no persistent chemicals.
Please note that there is no available data for the 82 percent of the company’s production that takes place outside of the EU and US. Lower EU/US production means higher uncertainty with regard to the total production of hazardous chemicals, which will have a negative impact on the company’s score in this category.
Mitsui Chemicals has a method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products and includes the intrinsic hazards of ingredients in the screening process. It does not, however, exclude substances with toxic properties from its new products. Mitsui Chemicals actively markets safer alternatives both on its own website as well as on ChemSec Marketplace. The company has at least one product, process or innovation that enables production of circular products. Mitsui Chemicals uses bio-based resources without occupying extra land or competing with food production. However, it does not source and treat recycled materials in a sustainable way, which is one of the key elements of a circular economy. Mitsui Chemicals is actively reducing the hazardous waste it generates.
The Japanese company does not produce only sustainable products. Nor does it have a phase-out strategy for hazardous substances that go beyond regulatory compliance. It shares chemical safety information on its website and is following a credible code of conduct standard. Mitsui Chemicals responded to ChemSec’s attempts to communicate around its ChemScore ranking, but it does not share any information about what kind of chemicals it produces in regions with low regulatory demands for transparency (e.g. Asia). Mitsui Chemicals does have a circular economy program in place, but it is lacking objective and measurable circular economy targets.
The company’s subsidiaries have had several explosions and fires during the last ten years. One of them, Shimonoseki Mitsui Chemicals, failed to report 52 gas leaks (between 2009 and 2019) even though reporting is required. The majority of the gas leaks happened in plants filling nitrogen trifluoride. Another incident happened at a Mitsui Chemicals plant manufacturing resorcinol in 2012, when a big explosion caused one death, injuries to 25 people (14 of which were neighbourhood residents) and damage to almost 1,000 houses.Download Controversies Mitsui Chemicals (PDF, 110 KB)